No 317 - Weekly - 9 July 2009

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The Commission's integrated energy and climate change proposal 2008

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• Transport




Practical Information







• 27 September - 1 August
Sustainable Energy Conference, Easton, USA
• 14-16 September
11European Offshore Wind Conference & Exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden



International Aviation





• Transport

EU signs aviation agreement with Azerbaijan

The European Union and the Republic of Azerbaijan have signed an aviation agreement which will give all European airlines the possibility to fly between any EU Member State and Azerbaijan. The Agreement will be the basis to further strengthen aviation relations between the partners.

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Neelie Kroes Speech



Antitrust: Commission market tests commitments by GDF Suez to boost competition in French gas market

The European Commission is inviting comments from interested parties on commitments offered by the French energy company GDF Suez to remedy concerns that it might have infringed EC Treaty rules on abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82) in the gas sector. The Commission was concerned in particular that GDF Suez might be closing off competitors from access to gas import capacity into France. Whilst not acknowledging any infringement, GDF Suez proposed to address the Commission's concerns through a major structural reduction in its long-term reservations of gas import capacity into France. The Commission has reviewed the commitments in close cooperation with the French energy regulator. The Commission invites interested parties to present their comments on the commitments offered by GDF Suez within two months of the publication in the EU Official Journal (on 9 th July). Should the market test indicate that GDF Suez's proposals remedy the Commission's competition concerns, the Commission may adopt a decision under Article 9 of Regulation 1/2003 making the commitments legally binding on GDF Suez.

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Neelie Kroes Speech


Antitrust: Commission fines E.ON and GDF Suez €553 million each for market-sharing in French and German gas markets

The European Commission has imposed fines totalling €1 106 000 000 on E.ON AG and its subsidiary E.ON Ruhrgas AG (of Germany) and on GDF Suez SA (of France) for market sharing in breach of EC Treaty rules on cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 81). E.ON/E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez are fined €553 million each. Ruhrgas AG (now E.ON Ruhrgas, part of the E.ON group) and Gaz de France (now part of GDF Suez) agreed in 1975, when they decided to jointly build the MEGAL pipeline across Germany to import Russian gas into Germany and France, not to sell gas transported over this pipeline in each other's home markets. They maintained the market-sharing agreement after European gas markets were liberalised, and only abandoned it definitely in 2005. These are the first Commission fines imposed for an antitrust infringement in the energy sector. This case is entirely separate from the antitrust case in which GDF Suez recently submitted commitments.

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Nuclear energy



Single European maritime transport area

The Commission is working to create a single European maritime transport area, which will remove many of the existing administrative burdens and make shipping attractive as a transport mode.

Shipping boasts a number of clear advantages as a mode of transport. Short sea shipping can be considered the most environmentally friendly mode of transport as it has comparatively low external costs and higher energy efficiency. It is also a very safe way of transporting, which induces infrastructure costs that are much lower than those for land transport. Plus it is very cost-effective and on some routes can offer a quicker alternative to road transport.

However, there are still many barriers preventing operators from taking full advantage of these benefits. In spite of the creation of the single market in 1993, maritime transport continues to be subject to complicated administrative procedures. For example, while lorries can drive unhindered throughout Europe, goods shipped between ports as close together as Antwerp and Amsterdam are considered to have left the territory of the European Union. Consequently, maritime transport between Member States involves many documentary checks and physical inspections by customs, health, veterinary, plant health and immigration control officials. The administrative procedures for maritime transport are complex, redundant and not harmonised between Member States or ports so operations for incoming and outgoing vessels to and from ports are slowed down, leading to higher costs and delays in loading and unloading operations.

 In addition maritime transport presently suffers as a result from the current economic crisis. It has led to a substantial reduction of sea-borne trade and at the same time financial constraints make it more difficult for the capital-intensive maritime transport sector to operate.

To overcome the problems related to maritime transport, solutions need to be found at a European level. The single market gave a boost to road transport within the EU and the same must be done for shipping. With the right measures, Europe will continue to offer attractive conditions for creating a vibrant shipping business model based on the core values of sustainable development, fair competition in open markets, and high environmental and social standards.

On 21 January 2009 the Commission presented the main strategic goals for the European maritime transport system up to 2018. The Communication examines the issues involved and proposes far-reaching measures.

 An important part of the strategy is to establish a single European maritime transport area. It is crucial in ensuring the effective development of the “motorways of the sea” – key sea routes between the Member States of the EU. Combined with other modes of transport, they should provide regular, high-quality services which offer an effective alternative to transporting goods only by road. The motorways of the sea represent a cleaner, more cost-effective solution for transporting freight and will reduce congestion at the main bottlenecks on Europe’s roads. What is more, they also provide effective, viable links to the remoter regions of Europe. A whole network of motorways of the sea will have to be established to absorb a significant portion of the growth expected for road freight traffic. At the same time, short-sea shipping will have to continue improving its performance.

Having a European maritime transport area, however, involves eliminating or reducing the numerous administrative procedures which apply to goods shipped by sea between European ports. It will make shipping more attractive, efficient and competitive, while contributing to a higher protection of the environment at the same time.

In this regard national authorities will need ship tracking systems to monitor the area and ensure that ships are operating correctly. This will prevent an increase in fraud resulting from the lifting of controls.





The wind that destroyed the Spanish Armada

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs writes about the opportunities offshore wind energy has to offer.

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For a complete list of current public consultations please go to Consultations on Energy issues and Consultations on Transport issues


•  Public Consultations

In this section you will find the latest calls for submissions to public consultations in fields of energy and transport.

Topic of Consultation  


Evaluation and Revision of the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency

The aftermath of the expiry of Regulation (EC) No 1407/2002 on State aid to the coal industry

Driver training and traffic safety education













For a complete list of current calls for tenders please log on Tenders Electronic Daily



New Calls for Tenders

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Please note that the announcement of technical reports and documents recently produced in specific energy and transport sectors can be found on the "What's New" pages of the corresponding chapters of Energy and Transport on the EUROPA website.

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